Frequently Asked Questions

Q. About the Code

What is the Investing in Women Code?

Who can sign up to the Code?

What does the Code aim to achieve?

Why should I sign up to the Code?

How many signatories are there?

Q. Data collection

Why do I need to provide data?

How often do I need to provide data?

My organisation does not currently capture gender or ethnicity data. Will this affect our signatory status?

How do I contact the relevant team at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)?

How do I contact industry bodies that contribute to the Code?

Will the data my organisation provides be published?

Can the data I provide be made publicly available under Freedom of Information (FOI)?

What are my responsibilities?

Q. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Am I processing personal data?

Do I have a lawful basis for processing personal data?

Do I need to amend the privacy notice on my website?

Are there personal data flows between my organisation and BEIS?

A. About the Code

What is the Investing in Women Code?

The Investing in Women Code is a commitment to support the advancement of female entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom by improving female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance from the financial services sector.

Who can sign up to the Code?

The Code is designed for all organisations that finance entrepreneurs, as it aims to increase the amount of finance received by female entrepreneurs.

What does the Code aim to achieve?

The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship was published in March 2019, and highlighted the stark barriers faced by female entrepreneurs in the UK. The report outlined eight practical recommendations to start to address these barriers, the first of which was the Investing in Women Code. Many organisations who fund entrepreneurs have recognised that the barriers facing female entrepreneurs is a deep-seated and widespread challenge for the industry, and some have taken positive action to overcome it.

Why should I sign up to the Code?

By signing up to the Investing in Women Code, organisations will send a positive signal to entrepreneurs who are looking for funding, and to other investors who can be confident that the signatory is committed to supporting diversity in access to finance. Furthermore, you will become part of an ecosystem made up of nearly 120 organisations who are all committed to removing the barriers faced by female entrepreneurs.

A diverse and inclusive business ecosystem is good for customers, entrepreneurs, businesses, investors, and society. BEIS and signatory firms share a commitment to work in partnership to make the United Kingdom one of the most attractive countries in the world to start and grow a business by advancing female entrepreneurship.

How many signatories are there?

As of December 2021, there are 118 signatories to the Code.

A. Data collection

Why do I need to provide data?

The aim of data collection is to drive concrete action and change within the industry, in order to achieve its broader diversity and inclusion goals. The purpose of data collection is three-fold:

To have self-reported data that spans all institutions that fund entrepreneurs from banks, to angels, to venture capital firms, and other organisations. Data is currently not collected and published on this scale; this data collection will provide a cohesive picture of the state of funding for female entrepreneurs.
To enable individual organisations to benchmark themselves against their cohort, and to track their progress and shape the actions they take to support female entrepreneurs.
To encourage organisations to add ‘gender’ as a metric in their internal reporting, which may lead to organisations capturing wider diversity metrics. Without collecting the data, it is difficult to identify issues and measure change.

How often do I need to provide data?

The data reporting process is once a year. Data will be collected from signatory organisations by their respective industry bodies and shared with BEIS in January, covering the period of the preceding calendar year. A report will be published by BEIS in Spring, and this cycle will be repeated annually.

My organisation does not currently capture gender or ethnicity data. Will this affect our signatory status?

There is a one-year grace period built into the Code to allow signatories to put the appropriate reporting systems in place. They should then provide the required data for the next reporting cycle.

How do I contact the relevant team at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)?

If you have any questions that have not been answered by this guidance or any comments or feedback on any aspect of the Code, please contact: investinginwomencode@beis.gov.uk.

How do I contact industry bodies that contribute to the Code?

Their contact details are as follows:

UK Finance: jennifer.tankard@ukfinance.org.uk
UK Business Angels Association: roderick.beer@ukbaa.org.uk
British Venture Capital Association: gurpreet.manku@bvca.co.uk
The British Business Bank: InvestinginWomenBBB@british-business-bank.co.uk

Will the data my organisation provides be published?

If your organisation is a signatory to the Investing in Women Code, the name of your organisation will be published online in the list of signatories, which is updated from time to time. BEIS may also announce that your organisation is a signatory to the Investing in Women Code.

Data will be published and analysed in aggregate form in the annual report. Data from individual organisations will not be published without their explicit consent. Similarly, data that could identify an entrepreneur will not be published without consent.

Can the data I provide be made publicly available under Freedom of Information (FOI)?

BEIS, as a public body, is legally obliged to provide certain information if requested by members of the public. This obligation is subject to exemptions including commercial confidentiality.

If a request were to be made, BEIS would consult the relevant third parties to establish the impact of disclosure and would apply relevant exemptions taking account of their representations.

What are my responsibilities?

It is the responsibility of each organisation to ensure that they are complying with all relevant legislation, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Each signatory will be responsible for ensuring their privacy policies are GDPR-compliant and, where necessary, updating their privacy notice or issuing a separate privacy notice to reflect the data processing that they carry out as part of their commitment to the Investing in Women Code. Please see Chapter 3 for more information on this.

A. GDPR

Am I processing personal data?

Yes – collecting data relating to someone’s gender is processing personal data.

Do I have a lawful basis for processing personal data?

Yes. The lawful basis is that such processing is necessary for the performance of a task in the public interest – namely, to collect data relating to the gender of entrepreneurs in order to support the advancement of female entrepreneurship in the UK. The relevant section of the GDPR is Article 6(1)(e).

Do I need to amend the privacy notice on my website?

Depending on the current wording, you may need either to update your existing privacy notice or to provide a separate privacy notice to cover the activities relating to your organisation’s participation in the Code.

Are there personal data flows between my organisation and BEIS?

No. There are no personal data flows between your organisation and BEIS or the relevant body designated by BEIS. You will provide information in aggregate, anonymised and with no names or further details from which individuals could be identified.